MRFF program for issues identified by advisory bodies

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Acting health minister Alan Tudge has announced applications are open for a grant program under the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) that includes $26.1 for projects focused on issues identified by committees including the PBAC.

Mr Tudge is acting minister while Greg Hunt takes an extended break during December and January.

The Targeted Health System and Community Organisation research (THSCOR) program will see the MRFF invest up to $26.1 million over two years, to address questions in "five critical knowledge and evidence gaps" identified by the PBAC, Medical Services Advisory Committee and the Medical Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce.

"These evidence gaps relate to cancer treatment populations, evaluation of health changes in children, efficient use of pharmaceuticals, digital breast tomosynthesis (an advanced mammography technology), and a review of circumcision revision," said Mr Tudge.

The separate Mental Health Pharmacogenomics Grant Opportunity will see up to $7 million invested in projects designed to improve the effectiveness of treatment, and patient experiences, by using pharmacogenomics tests to match patients to drugs and drug doses.

"An increasing number of studies suggest the treatment responses of patients using psychotropic medications (including antidepressants) is substantially influenced by genetic factors," said Mr Tudge.

"Research in this area has the potential to improve mental health outcomes for Australians and reduce Australia’s suicide rate."